Pete & Lorna Go
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Day 24, Monday June 12, 2017:
Keystone, South Dakota -> Custer State Park -> Wind Cave National Park -> Hill City -> Keystone, South Dakota

The day started in Keystone South Dakota with breakfast in our room and before long we hit the road under gray skies. We headed down US-40 and state 287 to Custer State Park where we had reservations to go on a Buffalo Safari. We entered the park and soon came upon a group of buffalo roaming the road and grassy fields alongside. Everyone slowed took pictures and slowly made headway. A little further along another group of buffalo came hoofing toward us in the other lane! About now I'm beginning to wonder why I am paying to go on a buffalo safari?

We got to the lodge, checked in and got rolling. The park has a fleet of stretch jeeps with 3, 2-person benches for guests. They had good sound so it was easy to hear the guide. He was awesome explaining everything during the 2-hour tour. We went off road to find more buffalo, learning they habits and history. There were also prairie dogs, prong horn, birds and interesting trees and plants, he knew them all. As the trip went on it made more sense when we saw the herds (females and juveniles) and the solitary males. It was a real treat to sit back and see and learn so much.

We drove a little looking for lunch. The park has limited food service and there is even less surrounding it. In the park we found the Blue Belle Lodge. It was a historic log construction place, rustic-nice and casual enough. The lunch crowd had largely passed, service was great as was the salad lunch. The clouds were filling in as we drove the loop in the Wind Cave National Park. We travelled US-385, SD 85 and US 16A as we headed back to the hotel. Along the way we crossed the Buffalo Gap National grassland.

In Pringle we found the bicycle sculpture. Hundreds of bicycles in a giant conical pile with a supersized bicycle topping the monument. Still more bicycles littered the surrounding ground at the crossroads. Before we even spotted this spectacle, we couldn't help but notice that every property in sight was infested with derelict farm implements and construction equipment.

We hadn't planned to visit the Crazy Horse sculpture intended to outdo Mount Rushmore with Chief Crazy Horse atop his steed, all carved from the mountain. They have been at it since 1948, the face is done and they are profiling the rest of the mountain to begin actual sculpting. As we were driving along there it was, set back from the road but visible enough. The site is open to visit as an attraction, we settled for a few longshots from the roadside.

We passed through Hill City stopping for ice. It was a neat looking little place of a town. About that time we began to see darker clouds and a little drizzle, then heard warnings for heavy rain, up to 2" hail and tornado potential tonight. We were on our way back to keystone for the night anyhow.

We headed out to the boardwalk in Keystone looking for dinner. Janes pizza had good reviews and they had seating between buildings in open air under a tin roof. It was the perfect place to be dining during a storm! The pizza we split was really good and the ice cream that followed was a treat. Blue Bunny seems to be the major ice cream supplier out here. At least as much as we travelled we're not seeing the sort of local ice cream operations Maine is known for. We were treated to a good rainstorm while eating. We had gotten there just in time, with the foul weather many places were shutting down early was we finished.

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Created May 14, 2017